How do stand-alone solar-powered solutions work?


Stand-alone solutions such as solar-powered street lights or generators offer cities and communities a unique opportunity to develop their infrastructure in a sustainable and planet-friendly way.

Those solar-powered solutions rely on what’s called clean energy, meaning they don’t emit greenhouse gases emissions and don’t add to atmospheric pollution. Solar energy is also considered « renewable » since solar radiation is a resource that is inexhaustible, free and accessible to all everywhere in the world.

But how exactly do these stand-alone solar-powered solutions operate? How do street lights turn solar energy into lighting? How do solar engines power smart applications? And most importantly, what is the best technology to ensure efficient and reliable service at all times?

What are solar-powered solutions made of?

Let’s start by taking a look at what components stand-alone solar solutions need to work. Solar street lights consist of solar panels, a battery, a battery management system controlled by an electronic board, and a LED module.

Each component serves a specific purpose:

  • Solar panels convert solar energy into electricity
  • The battery stores this energy
  • The electronic board controls the energy management system and distributes power to the lighting modules
  • LED modules or lanterns, powered by the battery, provide the lighting required

In the case of solar generators (solar solutions without lighting modules), the battery is used to power smart and connected equipment rather than LED modules. This can include environmental sensors, security equipment (video surveillance, anti-intrusion devices...), telecommunication devices and other Smart City applications.

How do the products work?

During the day, the solar panel’s photovoltaic cells capture the sun's rays and diffuse radiation, converting them into energy. This energy is stored in the street light’s battery throughout the day until nightfall. Once the sun has set, energy that’s been stored is then distributed to power the street light’s LED module, thus providing the amount of lighting required for the area.

Through an algorithm, solar panels can detect the level of ambient light and go from day to night mode, switching the lighting on and off. It is also possible with certain products to have the lighting switch on and off according to a specific set time.

Once the lighting is switched on, it behaves according to a dynamic lighting profile, controlled by the electronic board. This can be supplemented by a presence detection system. The lighting profile get defined ahead of the project, according to the lighting requirements for the area, applicable standards and regulations, and location for the installation.

As for solar generators, the electronic board operates so that the battery can charge while powering the equipment if it needs to be used during the day.

How to choose the most efficient solution?

Choosing equipment that is both resilient and efficient requires to invest in quality products as well as the right technology. Sunna Design's intelligent and connected solutions stand out for their robustness, resiliency and unparalleled performance. They are the result of unique technological know-how, supported by more than 14 patents.

At the heart of our solar lighting systems and solar engines is a smart energy management system called the SunnaCore. Designed by our engineers to maximize battery life, the SunnaCore acts as our solar solutions’ built-in intelligence. This patented innovation adjusts LED intensity to save energy, thus ensuring the solar street light will operate on a continuous basis, even during periods of low solar irradiance. The SunnaCore also features Bluetooth technology so that our customers can track product performance and manage their lighting profiles.

Our battery is based on temperature-resistant NiMH technology which, associated with our patented cooling system, ensures our products can be deployed in areas with extreme temperatures ranging from -40°C to +70°C. NiMH batteries are known to have the longest lifespan in the industry. Controlled by the SunnaCore within our products, they benefit from a unique charging system that further ensures optimal battery health and robustness. Batteries using NiMH technology can also be transported by air freight, unlike lead or lithium batteries.

Finally, our solar panels are designed to maximize the conversion of sunlight into energy: they are unframed and have a self-cleaning water-repellent coating that prevents things such as water or dust from interfering with their performance.

Want to know more? Our experts in solar public lighting and our software engineers are here to help you in every step of your projects. Get in touch today!

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Sunna Design
Brightening Life

Sunna Design is the leader of solar energy management for autonomous and connected applications, with solar street lighting being our core business.

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